STATE OF THE ECONOMY: REPS, OKONJO –IWEALA TRADE HOT WORDS
BY: IHEANACHO COLLINS
The House of Representatives Committee on Finance walked out the Coordinating Minister of Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday from its meeting it called over the state of the economy of the country from January till date.
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, had appeared before the committee, supported by Honorable Abdulmumin Jibrin, but trouble started when the minister when she told the committee that she was not feeling fine and that she honored the parliament invitation out of respect.
According to her explanations, Honorable Jibrin, in consultation with other members of the committee, ruled that they could not take on the minister but that they would give her “the 50 questions” for which she must answer in writing. He said, “We’re not insensitive to your situation as human beings and if you had told us this before now, we would have given you some time”.
However, the problem started when the minister reversed herself and insisted that she should be allowed to respond to all the questions in person, as the chairman insisted that he has rules and can’t go back on the issue, insisting that the minister should provide written answers within two weeks and appear before the committee in January. The minister appealed to the chairman for fair hearing but all her effort were futile.
When the situation became tensed, Honorable Jibrin walked out Okonjo-Iweala, saying “you know I have ruled and if you don’t mind, please excuse us. Members should stay behind for executive meeting”, that she can only decide what happens in the finance ministry and not in the of Reps.
Okonjo-Iweala, however, insisted that the committee should hear her out, but the response did not go down well with the chairman of the committee. She felt so bad because she has respect for the committee any didn’t get any respect from the house.